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is not ‘what are the implications, and what is the downside for our team?’ Trust means that when someone comes up with an idea, it’s not just to make their life easier – it’s about looking at a project holistically.” This big-picture approach led to major savings. For example, it’s estimated that more than $3 million was saved when Downer’s input led to certain sorts of piling being eliminated. Construction started in July 2011. Every project has its glitches, and this one was no exception, with Lingard finding at one point that the pipe field was advancing at just 400m a day rather than the desired 4.2 km. “We got to Plan E on that one!” he says. “But I had faith in the Downer team that it could be done. We kept working through it, we caught up – and ended up finishing the pipe field three or four weeks before schedule.” Downer staff took great care to keep the site safe, says Contact Construction Manager Joanne Wilton, and that played a large part in the project’s completion safely and on time. She describes a genuine, proactive safety-first culture reinforced through weekly toolbox meetings and awards for role models. The bioreactor is now removing about 80% of the hydrogen sulphide in the water, or about 10% more than demanded by resource consent conditions; Contact is easily sticking to the discharge limit of no more THAT’S THE SPIRIT When Downer project manager Craig Lingard picks the Wairakei bioreactor as “the best project I have ever worked on”, it’s not just his green heart talking. THE COLLABORATION, HE SAYS, REFLECTED THE DOWNER VALUES – SUCH AS COURAGE, INTEGRITY, COLLABORATION AND EXCELLENCE – THAT HAVE MADE HIM A CONTENTED EMPLOYEE. “THESE VALUES RESONATE WITH ME, ESPECIALLY INTEGRITY AND COURAGE.” Lingard trained as a carpenter before crossing the Tasman to work. He retrained as a civil engineer at the University of Southern Queensland and returned with his wife and children in 2005. Lingard’s first job for Downer that same year was as services supervisor on Springhill Prison. “What I enjoy about working for Downer is the fact they are prepared to give you a go if you show promise. They also support you in the decisions you make, and you have opportunities.” Lingard reckons there is a difference between doing things by the book and doing them correctly. “Doing things correctly is being flexible, listening to people, taking opinions and doing things in an interactive way. To be able to feed off ideas and give people responsibility and ownership is important to the success of any project.” “The bioreactor’s really interesting because it’s world-first technology …” Dennis Barnes Chief Executive Contact Energy than 2,800 kg of hydrogen sulphide a week. However, the innovative project is likely to be a one-off. Wairakei is the last geothermal power station discharging into a waterway – others reinject into the geothermal field. The station is ageing and will gradually be taken out of service. Alan de Lima’s lasting memory of the project is “how well it went – the collaborative approach really made a difference. Downer’s early input was critical.” For Lingard, “THIS PROJECT WAS SUCCESSFUL FROM EVERY POINT OF VIEW – PROGRAMME, QUALITY, HEALTH AND SAFETY – AND AT THE END WE HAD A HAPPY CUSTOMER.” “It’s actually naturally occurring bacteria that eat the ‘nasties’ in the separated geothermal water and then discharges it clean into the river. It was about ten years in development and Downer and our team were designing it for many years. In late 2010 we decided to actually build the bioreactor, which is the size of a football field with some fairly meaty pumping equipment attached to it. Downer built the plan for us through 2011 and 2012 and, you don’t say this very often, but it was on time, on budget and is currently operating as we intended. When you are constructing a large facility, you come across incidents during construction and Downer’s response to that has been very, very strong. Downer knowing what we do and how we do it, both from a values and technical perspective, makes it cheaper to do business together. It’s just good business sense.” DOWNER / IN BLACK & WHITE / 13


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